My TV Rankings, 20/2013
My rankings for the thirteen new episodes of television I watched from Sunday, May 12th to Saturday, May 18th:
1. Scandal “White Hat’s Back On” A
Very well done, Scandal, very well done. Other shows would have run out of steam after a few episodes of what this show attempted to do over the last season, but Scandal just kept getting more and more awesome, going from guilty pleasure to flat-out pleasure, and this finale was the perfect way to close things off. The way the Cytron card was tracked down to Billy and how it was revealed that Rosen, the one character largely unblemished by evil (or whatever you want to call it) was just using the Card as leverage to get his job back, that was all perfect, especially once we saw Quinn sadistically drilling into Billy’s thigh, which was strangely awesome. The stuff with Cyrus attempting to maneuver Fitz and Olivia away from each other without hurting either of them was also fantastic, and Jeff Perry had both more epic rants to make and a heart attack (which we all knew was coming) to deal with, both of which he mastered perfectly. I thought the episode was done when Olivia dumped Fitz after finding out about Verna, but the final reveal, that ‘Olitz’ was now out in public and B613’s shadowy head was actually Olivia’s dad was masterfully done, eclipsing everything else in this sublime episode.
2. New Girl “Elaine’s Big Day” A/A-
I’ve really enjoyed watching New Girl elevate itself into the top tier of current sitcoms this season and this finale wrapped things up very nicely. Jess and Nick driving into the night is exactly the right way for the season to end, and although this episode didn’t examine the relationship in particularly great detail, the last few weeks set this up very well. Comedy-wise, we learned the obvious here: Winston + badger + air ducts = funny. I know some people don’t like Winston’s love of violent pranks and I sometimes have misgivings too, but here it was just hilarious and the inclusion of the badger in the prank (“You guys, I don’t think the badger was actually rabid, he was just kind of a dick”) made everything that much better. Lamorne Morris deserves more material, but he really knocks everything he gets out of the park and this was no exception. Also, the Schmidt/CeCe/Elizabeth triangle was another plot which worked well in this episode, with Max Greenfield, Hannah Simone and Merritt Wever doing great work. The way it ended, with Schmidt running away, was pretty much perfect and this was one more thing the show did exceptionally well in this great (bar the unnecessary Taylor Swift cameo, which wasn’t *too* bad I guess) finale.
3. Rectify “Drip, Drip” A-
After initially showing signs of promise, Daniel Holden’s adjustment back into society arguably descended into total failure here, and Rectify’s examination of this descent was as incredible as expected. The first part of the episode, where Daniel rides along with the ‘goat man’ was so effectively surreal that I thought it was actually some sort of dream sequence. Very few shows would attempt to do what Rectify did in this part of the episode alone, and its a reflection on the quality of the show that it, and the rest of the episode, worked so well. Daniel having a talk with his stepfather, telling Amantha and his mother to stop living his life for him, getting baptized but disturbing Tawny in the process and then his showdown with Teddy – it was all done in such a moving and effective manner. Although I think Teddy’s one of the more loathsome TV characters of 2013, his lashing out at Daniel was very well set-up, both in previous episodes and in this hour – his rejection of Tawny’s view of where Daniel fits into their lives, his frustration at him taking his lucky mechanic, his drunk observance of what a waste his day of flyer-distribution was, it all worked to make the final scene all the more effective. This is great TV here and I’m so glad its been renewed for another season.
Read below for my take on Mad Men, Awkward and more: